Should researchers of spirituality and religion be distantly 'objective,' or engaged and active participants? The traditional paradigm of 'methodological agnosticism' is increasingly challenged as researchers emphasize the benefits of direct participation for understanding beliefs and practices. Should academic researchers 'go native,' participating as 'insiders' in engagements with the 'supernatural,' experiencing altered states of of consciousness? How do academics negotiate the fluid boundaries between worlds and meanings which may change their own beliefs? Should their own experiences be part of academic reports? Researching Paganisms presents reflective and engaging accounts of issues in the academic study of religion confronted by anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, historians and religious studies scholars_as researchers and as humans_as they study contemporary Pagan religions. The insights that contributors gain, with resultant changes to their own lives, will fascinate not only other scholars of Pagan religions, but scholars of any religion and indeed anyone who grapples with issues of reflexive research.
Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 233 x 171 x 24 mm
Researching Paganisms successfully portrays the multiplicity of its subject matter. This collection provides a solid place to begin one's explorations of pagan studies and-at the same time-addresses theoretical and methodological issues that will inform future discussions about the role of the academy in the study of contemporary religious traditions as well as the relevance of religion in contemporary societies. Contributions are all first-rate. -- Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
An interesting set of essays on the study of 'neo-paganism'...a useful reflection on the prejudices, preoccupations, instincts, emotional and personal traits which we all bring to our studies-a useful tool for self-analysis. -- Rene V.L. Wadlow * Transnational Perspectives *
Researching Paganisms is an important book not only for scholars and students of contemporary Western Paganism, but also for all social scientists and religious scholars who do ethnographic research. Some of the best-known and some newer scholars of contemporary Paganism on three continents explore the role of the ethnographer in mystery religions, the way in which their research has changed them and their perspective, and how their research may have influenced those they study. This book would make a wonderful addition to any social science methods class both for the issues and questions it raises and because all the chapters are written as engaging first-person narratives. -- Helen Berger, West Chester University, Author of A Community of Witches and Voices from the Pagan Census